IN THE TEMPLE OF DENDERAH
BEFORE I left the small Mystery chapel which rested on the roof of the temple of Denderah, I turned my attention to a remarkable astronomical zodiac which had been carved into the ceiling. I knew that it was but a copy and that the original had been cut out and carried off to Paris more than a century ago, but it was an absolutely faithful copy.
The great round figure was closely packed with effigies-animal, human and divine—set within a globe and encircled by the twelve well-known signs of the zodiac. And, to complete this wondrous symbolism, the forms of twelve different gods and goddesses, some standing and others kneeling, were distributed around the globe with their upraised arms, and flattened palms ceaselessly assisting it to revolve. Thus the whole universe with its unending movement was faithfully, if emblematically, represented by this graphic piece of carving, a memorial of the round worlds which move so rhythmically through our sky, and which must leave the most sceptical of sensitive minds with a sense of wonder at the sublime Intelligence who patterned this universe.
If the Denderah zodiac is to be interpreted correctly, it must be read as a description of the heavens during a certain epoch of the past; what was that epoch is another matter. This is not the place to enter into abstruse and unfamiliar astronomical explanations. Suffice it, that the arrangement of constellations shown does not coincide with the arrangement we see in the sky to-day.
The marked position of the spring ecjuinox upon the zodiac of the temple ot Denderah differs from its present-day position in the sky, involving the sun's entrance into a constellation of the stars bearing another name.
How did this wide change arise? The reply is that because